After a brief hiatus during the holidays following the CW Arrowverse crossover Elseworlds (didn’t catch the event? Check out my review here!), The Flash is back this week with “The Flash & the Furious.” At the close of the show’s landmark 100th episode, we learned that Barry’s future daughter, Nora, has been in contact with none other than Eobard Thawne for an unknown amount of time. That episode left viewers in a state of wonder as to what exactly Nora’s involvement with the Reverse Flash was, and we get to learn a little bit more about their relationship in “The Flash & the Furious.” After having finally discovered that Thawne murdered her grandmother, Nora lashes out at her father’s arch nemesis. There being no use in hiding the truth any longer, he relents, admitting to the nefarious deed, and then begins to plead with Nora that she try to understand him. This sequence is the first time in which we get a glimpse of what drove Eobard Thawne to become the Reverse Flash in the first place, as he explains that the ultimate realization that he would never become the Flash like Barry Allen was what drove him mad and resulted in his deep-seated hatred for the fleet-footed hero.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Team Flash is getting ready to support Cecile’s first day back in the courtroom as the prosecutor in the case against Weather Witch (whom you may recall as the hell-bent young woman with a desire to fry her weather-controlling father from a few episodes prior). Before Barry, who is head CSI for the case, can be called to the stand, however, he receives a signal from the lab to chase down a woman by the name of Raya, aka Silver Ghost, who goes Grand Theft Auto on a man’s Lamborghini and hijacks it right from under his nose. With the CCPD squad cars being outclassed in every possible way (it is a gorgeous car), Barry is the only one fast enough to chase down the culprit. Unfortunately for Barry, it turns out that Raya possesses a piece of meta-tech that allows her to control various vehicles, as well as equip them with a force field of some sort. Barry finds out all too late that that force field can throw his metahuman powers into a frenzy when he attempts to phase into the supercar to pull Raya out of it. The result? Barry can’t stop his body from trying to phase through everything – including the very ground he stands on! Barely making it back to the lab with a little help from an exhausted Nora, and Barry is put into the pipeline until the effects of Silver Ghost’s tech wears off – something Cisco says should take around 24 hours, leaving Barry locked up for the remainder of “The Flash & the Furious.”
The central theme of “The Flash & The Furious” is second chances, with Nora wanting nothing to do with Eobard Thawne upon her revelation, as well as showing a lack of empathy and desire to give other metas a second chance of any kind, and experiencing the consequences of taking such an attitude. Adding to this is Cisco’s newfound desire to create a “metahuman cure,” as he no longer wishes to be Vibe and wants only to be Cisco Ramone, and someday have a family without the fear of being attacked or having to run off to fight other metas. Furthermore, Cisco states that they could use this cure to simply cure all metas of their abilities. Caitlin, who has finally begun to not only get a handle on the coolest powers of the team but also form a strong bond with her alternate personality, Killer Frost, is not at all thrilled about this idea – even going so far as to sabotage Cisco’s current progress on the aforementioned cure, which naturally becomes a topic of contention between the two besties.
Just a short time ago, we learned that the showrunners were planning on taking The Flash in a different direction, moving away from the freak-of-the-week formula standardized by Smallville in its fledgling seasons. That new direction does not start with “The Flash & the Furious;” as previously mentioned, Raya fills that trope. The concept of having certain members of Team Flash pursue a metagene cure is a far stone’s throw from original; anyone who has been a fan of comic book characters for a healthy length of time is aware of the mutant gene cure that Marvel’s X-Men were faced with (and quite honestly, metahumans and mutants are not too dissimilar). A so-called “cure” for superhuman powers of any sort is a road well traveled, and I personally don’t find the idea of introducing it here all too exciting, but time will tell, and I hope that they do make it work well.
Character interaction highlights in “The Flash & the Furious” were between a frosty Caitlin and Cisco, as the chilly persona of the team’s resident doctor takes great pride in poking fun at Mr. Ramone. It will be interesting to see how their friendship is affected by Cisco’s search for a cure and Caitlin’s decision to aid him in his personal quest while also playing the role of guardian in the event that he takes it too far. As previously mentioned, it is revealed that Nora has been seeking the aid of an Iron-Heights-shackled Eobard Thawne and has, apparently, been doing so for some time. Just what the depth of that working relationship is… who’s to say? I, for one, am curious to find out how that partnership began in the first place, as well as its overall purpose and Thawne’s obvious hidden ulterior motives for helping the budding speedster heroine. Nora’s interactions with the Weather Witch also show some growth, as the latter meta’s decision to aid Silver Ghost’s theft of a prototype A.R.G.U.S. vehicle (yet another beautiful car) are the manifested consequences of Nora’s unwillingness to give Joss a second shake. This becomes a teaching moment for the young XS, and she even comes to understand her father’s difficulty in struggling with wanting to hope that even someone like Thawne could change someday.
Sans the obvious prior introductions of this season’s newer cast members, “The Flash & the Furious” in many ways feels like a completely different episode; they mention Cicada maybe twice at the most, which I’m happy with, as the Big Bad of this season has already worn out his welcome, as far as I’m concerned. Given that, it’s puzzling where the showrunners plan to steer the remainder of this season. More mysteries are afoot, with Sherloque’s continued snooping into Nora’s life, and this week he goes so far as to enter the Time Vault in search of answers, only to learn from Gideon that Nora herself had wiped the database clean of all files pertaining to her! What could this portend for XS and her relationship with everyone moving forward? They certainly won’t be thrilled to find out that she’s been paying Eobard Thawne regular visits in the future. I sincerely hope for a marked increase in the action, as I feel we’ve been starved of some truly solid Flash fights for a while now. With Barry properly back in the suit (sorry, Stephen Amell, I have nothing but love for ya’, but you should stick with green), I’ve got a serious itch for that to change, and fast!